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Holiday travel: What to expect

Travel is back to pre-pandemic levels as millions of Americans gear up to catch a flight or hit the road

Travelers wear masks at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.
Travelers wear masks as they wait in a line for a TSA security check, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. U.S. officials are gearing up for busy travel days ahead.
Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

After the Thanksgiving holidays, the looming threat of the omicron variant settled in. But Christmas isn’t canceled or slowing down, as close to 109.5 million people will hit the road for the break.

  • This 34% increase in travel from last year is indicative that travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent report by AAA, a federation of motor clubs in the United States.
  • Air travel is also bouncing back with 27 million anticipated travelers, a 184% increase from last year, per the report.

Transportation Security Administrator David Pekoske predicted that Dec. 23 and Jan. 3 will be the busiest days for those traveling by air, according to CNN.

  • “Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in the report.
  • “With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel.”

According to Fox News, the organization has plenty of data to create these annual projections but it’s unclear whether the COVID-19 surge will impact these numbers.

Public health officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, testing will help prevent COVID-19 from spreading this holiday season, per the Deseret News.